Read That One Day (That One #1.5) Online
Authors: Josie Wright
That One Day
That One Day
That One Series – Book 1.5
Published by Josie Wright
Copyright © 2016 by Josie Wright
All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2016
Cover design by Kari Ayasha,
Cover to Cover Designs
Content Edited by Anja Pfister,
Line Edited by Loredana Elsberry Schwartz,
Copy Edited by Tanya Keetch,
The Word Maid
Cover Photo by © Olly2 –
Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst, MA mentioned with permission from
c/o Papyrus Autoren-Club
Tel.: 030 / 49997373
Email: authorjosiewright (at) gmail (dot) com
The names, characters, places, and events portrayed in this book are products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, events, or locales is coincidental and not intended by the author.
All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without the permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Except for the original material written by the author, all songs, brands, and artists mentioned in the novel
That One Day
are the property of the respective owners and copyright holders. Any brands mentioned do not endorse or sponsor this book in any way.
Warning: This book contains offensive language, violence, disturbing situations, and sexual content. Mature audiences only. 18+
That One Day
is Ben’s story leading up to the events of
That One Night
and also offers his point of view on the things that happened in Frankie’s book. While it is standalone, it is a much more enriching experience to read
That One Night
in conjunction so you can get to know Frankie.
To Mom and Dad
Simply because you’re the best
Chapter 2 The Only Thing That’s Real
Chapter 4 Home Sweet Fucking Home
Chapter 5 Welcome to the Neighborhood
Chapter 10 Sorry Seems to be My Favorite Word
Chapter 11 Different Life, Different Girl
Chapter 12 Merry Christmas to Me
Chapter 13 Wrong Name, Wrong Time
Chapter 14 A Shoulder to Lean On
Chapter 18 The Truth and Nothing but the Truth
Chapter 19 Congratulations, It’s A Boy
Chapter 20 And the Asshole Award Goes to…Me
Chapter 23 One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
Chapter 24 Mission Accomplished
Chapter 25 Nothing Pretty About the Truth
Chapter 27 Stepping Up to the Game
Chapter 30 Secrets Never Stay Hidden
Chapter 31 The Truth Will Set You Free
Chapter 33 Blast from the Past
Chapter 42 Weight off my Chest
Chapter 43 Blood Ain’t Thicker Than Water
Chapter 45 Twenty-Four Perfect Hours
The light from the street lamps is the only thing illuminating the kitchen. I’m sitting at the table, staring at the wooden clock that hangs above the counter, clutching the letter in my hand. I’ve been sitting here for two hours, ever since I got home from my business finance class—a class I fucking hate. I’m not even sure there are any classes I like as it stands. Two hours ago, failing yet another class and therefore another semester was my biggest worry. Now it doesn’t really matter anymore.
I haven’t had anything to eat or drink for hours. Neither hunger nor thirst registers. I’m too busy holding onto my control—the only thing that keeps me from tearing this house apart in order to find answers.
Two hours ago, I was oblivious to what the day had in store for me. Two hours ago, I didn’t know that this would be that one day that would change everything.
I had just gotten home from college, planning to eat and take a nap before going out for the night. The past week had been stressful with lots of exams, hence the need to decompress.
I’ve been struggling through college for the past three years, unable to find something that managed to keep my interest for more than a week, so the end of each semester usually is accompanied by the bitter taste of failure.
Dave, my best friend, skipped his classes today to impress some chick he’s currently after, so I didn’t have to drop him off and instead was able to come straight home. His academic success rivals mine, but it doesn’t seem to bother him all that much.
I pulled into the driveway, slinging my backpack over one shoulder, and walked over to the mailbox. With my parents working all day at their bed and breakfast, this was one of my daily chores. Grabbing the mail, I started making my way toward the house. Bills, junk mail, the usual crap.
That was until I noticed an envelope addressed to me. I usually don’t get mail. Most people I know send me a text or call, none of them write letters. Actually, the only letters I remember getting were speeding tickets and the acceptance letters for college.
Pausing, I tried to recall if I’ve violated any traffic laws lately, but couldn’t come up with anything.
I was baffled to find it was from Tucson. Neale & Murphy Law Firm. Why the fuck would a law firm from Arizona send me a letter?
While tearing the envelope open, I racked my brain if I’d done something that would warrant a law firm to get in touch with me. I couldn’t come up with anything. Not a single fucking thing.
Instead of guessing, I decided to pull out the letter and just find out.
And with one letter, everything around me started to crumble to pieces. One afternoon changed my life without warning.
I stare at the paper in my hand, able to recite the words by heart at this point. According to this letter, my grandmother died and left me all of her possessions. Which is funny because both my grandmothers are alive and well. And neither of them lives in Tucson.
It has to be a mistake. Maybe they mixed up addresses and sent it to the wrong guy. I grab the envelope off the table and check the name and address for the umpteenth time, but the result is the same. All the details on the envelope are correct.
Why would I have a grandmother in Arizona whom I know nothing about? This doesn’t make any sense.
Since the moment I’ve sat down in the kitchen, I’ve been going over numerous scenarios, one worse than the other.
My thoughts start spinning again as my mind lists all the possibilities. I run my hand through my hair, pulling at it in frustration.
Maybe I’m adopted and this is my real grandmother. Maybe my mom or dad had been adopted, or one of my grandpas had been married before and she was his first wife.
I have no idea what it all means and feelings of anger, confusion, and hurt are starting to form in my stomach. Which is why I’m sitting here waiting for my mom to come home and offer an explanation. I hope she has a really good one because I can’t come up with anything that wouldn’t mean I’ve been lied to all my life.
It’s close to eight p.m. when I hear the door to the garage open and Mom walks in, turning on the light. She startles, her hand flying to her chest when she sees me.
“Ben, Jesus, you scared me. What are you doing sitting here in the dark, hon?” She puts her handbag onto the counter, her eyes trained on me. Concern is written all over her face as she waits for an answer.
For a moment I hesitate, not wanting to face the truth, whatever it may be. Maybe I could just throw the letter away. Ignore it all and go on living my life the way it was. I’m fucking terrified of the answers my mom might give me.
“Ben, hon, are you okay?”
She has walked up to me and is standing only a few inches away. Despite the situation, I notice that she smells of cookies. A smell I loved as a kid. A smell that always felt like home.
She cocks her head, studying me, her eyes filling with worry. I don’t know what to say, so instead I thrust the letter in her direction.
“You tell me, Mom.” She takes the letter and starts reading. I watch as her face falls, a look of pain and regret evident on her usually kind features. This alone confirms that one of the nightmare scenarios in my head is about to become reality. No matter what she says next, I know it’ll ruin everything.
“Ben, I…” she stutters, struggling to find the right words. She blinks away tears as she looks at me pleadingly.
I get up, the chair falling back with a bang, making her jump. I feel the urge to move before I explode. I need to get out this energy that’s suddenly running through me, making me feel like a live wire.
“Tell me, Mom!” My voice is loud and croaky. I sound like an injured animal.
“Ben, hon, please calm down. Let’s sit.” She points to my chair, her hand shaking violently.
I can tell she’s on the verge of crying. I should feel guilty, but I don’t. Right now, I feel enough pain to take this house apart brick by brick, and something in my gut tells me it won’t get better any time soon. But I want to hear, no, I
to hear what she has to say, so I pick up the chair and take a seat.
She sits down in the chair next to me, laying the letter on the table and smoothing it out.
“Ben, you need to promise to listen and not do anything rash.”
I don’t reply. I can’t promise her shit right now. When she realizes that I’m not going to say anything, she lets out a shaky breath.
“You need to understand that your dad and I didn’t tell you in order to protect you. We didn’t want you to get hurt.”
“Didn’t tell me what?” I grind out between clenched teeth, digging my nails into my palms in an attempt to keep it together. It's all that keeps me from yelling at her to tell me the truth.
She closes her eyes and when she opens them again I can see pure fear and pain. “Ron isn’t your biological father.”
I feel like someone pulled the ground out from underneath me. Suddenly, I’m falling, and there is nothing or no one to catch me. Everything I thought I knew was a lie. Everything I am is a lie. I grip the edge of the table so hard my knuckles turn white.
My voice is barely more than a whisper. “What?”
Mom’s shoulders are shaking while tears are streaming down her face.
“I was married before. We lived in Tucson. Your biological father, he wasn’t a good man. I left him when you were still a baby. I met Ron shortly after that. We married and he adopted you. I didn’t want you to have anything to do with your father. That’s why I didn’t tell you.”
I fight against the storm brewing inside of me. I want to scream. I want to punch someone. I want to do something to stop all these feelings crushing down on me. I want to lash out at her, hurt her in the same way she hurt me. Instead, I take a breath.
“That wasn’t your decision to make. You lied to me. You fucking lied to me,” I yell. I don’t recognize my own voice—it sounds hoarse and desperate. I’m waiting for someone to tell me this is all a joke. But there is no one here.
“I’m sorry, Ben. I’m so sorry,” she sobs, trying to take my hand. I yank it back. I can’t stand her touch right now. I don’t know the woman sitting in front of me. Gone is the person I thought would always be there for me, the person I could always turn to. The one person I thought I could trust completely. The woman I considered to be the best mother possible. All I see now is someone who lied and betrayed me.
I get up and grab the letter without sparing my mom another look. My legs move of their own accord, leading me out of the kitchen. I take two steps at a time up the stairs until I reach my room and open the door with a bang. I look around for a moment, taking in the place I spent all my life in, or as it turns out most of my life, and I know I need to get out of here.
Yanking my duffel bag from the closet, I start throwing my stuff into it. A few pairs of jeans, shirts, underwear, and socks, followed by my laptop and a few other things. It doesn’t take me longer than five minutes before I walk out of the room, taking one more look back. Yanking my keys out of my pocket, I unhook the house key and throw it on my bed. I won’t be coming back.
I pound down the stairs, anger and desperation fueling my every step. I can hear my mom talking on the phone. “Ron, you have to come home…”
When she sees me and her eyes fall to the duffle bag, she drops the phone onto the table without even hanging up and rushes over to me. She takes ahold of the duffle bag straps, pure desperation giving her more strength than I expected.
“What’s his name?” My voice is hard, cold.
“What?” Her eyebrows furrow, and she seems confused for a moment, taken aback by my question.
“What. Is. My. Father’s. Name?” I grit out between my teeth.
Mom shakes her head, but answers anyway. When she does, her voice is weak, barely audible. “Noah. His name is Noah.”
“Where is he, Mom?” I need to know who my father is. I need to see him, talk to him. I need to find out where I come from.
She hangs her head, then looks up at me and sighs. “I don’t know, Ben. Last time I heard from him was before I left Arizona.”
I’m not sure I can believe her. She’s had no issues lying to me about the identity of my real father. Lying about his whereabouts should come easy to her, I suppose.
I turn toward the door, ready to leave this place behind before it suffocates me.
“Ben, please wait. You need to listen to me…”
I don’t let her finish, tearing the duffle bag out from her grasp with one hard tug.
“You’ve had twenty-five years to talk to me.” I turn around and walk out the door, ignoring her cries. Jumping into my truck, I slam the door closed behind me and crank the engine. As I back out of the driveway, I turn up the music to drown out her voice. Before I take off down the street, I take a glimpse in the rearview mirror and see my mom slumped on the floor.
Guilt at seeing her cry makes the breath catch in my throat. I hate myself for it. There’s no reason for me to feel guilty. She lied to me. She never would have told me the truth if not for that damn letter. Yet, I can’t help but hate myself for hurting her.
I clutch the steering wheel so tightly I’m afraid I’ll break it. I want to stop feeling. I want to numb the pain and anger coursing through my veins like poison, but I have no idea how.
I don’t drive far, just a few houses down the road before I’m at my destination—Dave’s house. I know he’ll still be out and his parents are visiting family in the U.P. This should give me a few hours to figure out what I’m going to do next.
I hop out of the truck and unlock the garage. I’ve had keys to their house for years since my parents worked so much, and I always hung out here with Dave anyway. This has been my home just as much as my own used to be. I put the truck into the garage, hiding it from my mom, and enter the house.
It’s quiet and deserted, and I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding. On my way into the living room, I stop at the cupboard where Dave’s dad stores the liquor. We raided it often back in high school when his parents were away. Now, it’s my only chance to escape reality for a little bit.
I grab a bottle of whiskey, not bothering with a tumbler. I make my way over to the couch, bumping into the side table on the way. The burst of pain in my shin is a welcome distraction. It allows me to forget everything else I’m feeling—if only for a few seconds. Turning on the light on the side table, I skim over the huge record collection displayed in the wall-sized bookshelf. I pull out a few records, put one on, and plop down on the couch. I take a swig straight from the bottle, allowing the burn of the whiskey to take my mind off my fucked-up life.